ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: 20.000 emplois bientôt supprimés dans l’aide à domicile
Translated Friday 15 April 2011, by Gene Zbikowskiand reviewed by
A call for help. This is what has just gone out from a collective of 16 federations of home help associations, addressed to the authorities.
These professionals, who work with families facing problems, the elderly, the handicapped and the ill, are demanding that an emergency fund be set up quickly to help them to meet a “desperate” financial situation.
Jobs cut, families facing problems.
Since the end of 2009, the collective has been ringing the alarm bell on the problems caused by the economic crisis. It is demanding the creation of a 100-million-euro emergency fund. It fears 20,000 jobs will have been lost in 2010 and 2011. Moreover, the ending of certain exemptions from employer contributions is leading to additional costs of from 2% (aid to handicapped and elderly persons) to 15% (fragile families), according to the collective. Many services are running with “a continual overdraft” at the bank and are in danger of going bankrupt, according to Emmanuel Verny, the general director of the National Union of Help, Care and Service to Households (UNA).
Marie Alcantara, a member of an association in the Rhône département (capital: Lyons), gave the example of an assisted family in which the mother suffers from multiple sclerosis and the father is in prison. “Who’s going to take their daughter to school” if the association can no longer do it? she asked.
The emergency fund is long in coming.
Aid to families, which is financed to the tune of 140 million euros by the National Fund for Family Benefits (CNAF) and 110 million euros by the Councils governing each département, needs an additional 25 million euros according to Jean-Laurent Clochard, the confederation secretary of the family aid organization FNAAP. Home help has already worked out reforms of a more structural nature, in particular so as to rationalize their fee schedule.
But “until the reform goes through, we have to hang in there” with an emergency fund, Emmanuel Verny added. According to Verny, “the money is there and can easily be mobilized” through the Caisse des dépôts et consignations or through unused CNAF credits.
Early this year, Minister for Solidarity Roselyne Bachelot spoke of raising a 50-million-euro fund on credits from the National Solidarity Fund for Independent Living (CNSA). But since then, “nothing has happened,” according to Jean-Marie Barbier, the president of the Association of Paralyzed Persons of France.